The way I see it, is that it's all about taking control away from consumers (a form of capitalism if you will). All in all, large corporations in the tech industry are ever moving forward in trying to take full control of how, when and where you purchase your content/product. And it seems that slowly, it's happening thanks to the great pioneers of this philosophy, including Apple, Microsoft and Sony.
Atari and Nintendo helped a lot, as did cell phone manufacturers and networks. They really did the hard work of setting the expectation of buying an "approved" device to get "approved" content. Apple, MS, and Sony (not to mention Valve) are just taking that toward its logical conclusion. Companies were trying to lock people into proprietary content networks 20+ years ago (see AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, GEnie), but it didn't work too well when you were lucky to have a customer with a 25MHz CPU and 9600bps modem paying by the hour.
Specially Cork wrote:
My main concern is it's just baby steps toward a purely digital distribution method - either through downloading games or online streaming. I don't mind digital distro on the PC - but on the consoles with no guarantee of backwards compatibility and zero competition - it's a different story. The prices for full PS3 games on PSN are obscene and never budge - it's only going to get worse if they eventually convince enough gamers to ditch physical media and stores completely.
Digital distro on PC isn't necessarily much better. Most major games now require either a Steam account or a publisher-specific account, even if you buy the retail package. You get a broader choice of hardware, and it's easier to get into multiple networks, but the basic situation is the same as on console for the most part. There are nice exceptions like GOG and Humble Bundle, but the bulk of it is the same "get an account on our network or you're not allowed to play our game" bullshit.